The most recent iterations of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries feature Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jonny Lee Miller as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Duke of Deductive Reasoning.
My favorite Holmes, however, was played by Gene Wilder — not Sherlock, but Mycroft, the “smarter” brother, hence the film’s title. This Mycroft has little respect for his overpraised sibling, “Sheer-luck,” in whose shadow the cleverer Mycroft has been forced to live. And Wilder’s rather unique contribution to the genre demonstrates not only the disservice done poor Mycroft but also the virtually limitless possibilities Doyle’s masterwork presents — even goofy parody.
2 thoughts on “A Strange Detective: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother”
At least the current BBC version does let Mycroft be as smart as Sherlock. Have you seen Without a Clue? Michael Caine as Sherlock Holmes, Ben Kingsley as Dr. Watson. In that version, Dr. Watson is the true genius detective who has hired a drunken actor to play the part of Sherlock Holmes when the public wants to meet the real thing. It’s a funnier idea than the actual execution, which is hit and miss. Sort of a 2 1/2 stars result.
I’d also put in a word for Christopher Plummer’s Sherlock in Murder by Decree. Another case where the actor and the idea – Sherlock Holmes takes on Jack the Ripper – are better than the script, but it’s a decent thriller.
Yes, I’d forgotten WITHOUT A CLUE. It’s been years and years since last I saw it, but I remember Kingsley being very good in it. There is also THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION, with Nicol Williamson as the drug-addled detective who teams up with Sigmund Freud! Robert Duvall does a terrible English accent as Dr. Watson — but I love those fictional-historical mashups (if that’s the appropriate term).
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